Reception in support of the University Colleges Australia 2022 Forum
University Colleges Australia President, Mr Wayne Erickson and Executive Committee; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. Welcome.
I would like to begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbul and Jagera people, and pay respect to their Elders past and present, and emerging. I would also like to extend my respect to any First Nations people here with us today.
May I also take a moment to acknowledge the passing of our beloved late Sovereign of 70 years, Queen Elizabeth the Second, and the accession to the throne of King Charles the Third.
My husband Graeme and I are delighted that you could find time in your busy forum schedule to visit Queensland’s beautiful Government House – aptly named ‘Fernberg’, German for ‘distant hill’.
We are very pleased to welcome you here today, as you mark what I’m sure has been a very welcome return to the longstanding tradition of gathering in person for this annual forum, with the COVID-19 pandemic necessitating the move to a virtual format for the last two years.
I know the pandemic has been particularly challenging for university colleges – as it was for so many in our global community – and I commend you all for the actions you took to protect your residents, their families, and the wider community, and to continue to foster the UCA values and collegiality that you all hold dear.
Our nation’s university colleges play such a pivotal role in providing a sense of connectedness and community to young people in their formative years – many of whom have left the comfort and familiarity of their homes in rural or regional areas for the first time to embark on their tertiary studies.
I commend you all for the wonderful work you do in supporting our young people – they are Australia’s future.
How fitting then, that this year’s forum theme is “Forming Leaders in Our Community”.
The multi-layered support you provide not only fosters academic achievement; it also delivers the pastoral support and networks required for students to realise their ambitions and potential.
Graeme himself was a beneficiary of such support as a young medical student at UQ’s St John’s College. Some years later, we were able to extend the opportunity for that same life experience to our daughter Jane, who similarly flourished under their care.
So, we are well acquainted of the many virtues of a collegiate experience, and I commend you all for your leadership in delivering such quality programs and experiences to the students of our nation, and those who choose to study here.
I trust this year’s forum has been a welcome opportunity to hear from such a high calibre of thought leaders within the sector; to learn from each other; and to reflect on the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.
I congratulate the members of the Organising Committee for putting together such a comprehensive and impressive program and wish you all the best for your final day of sessions tomorrow.
It is our pleasure to host you here at Government House.